Fresh faced and somewhat nervous, ‘Flashguns’ took to the stage of the O2 Academy in Birmingham on February 8th, following a brilliantly energetic set from fellow support band ‘Yaaks’. Understandably, the young Londoners felt the pressure of entertaining a sold out crowd of fans who were eagerly awaiting the appearance of headlining act ‘Funeral Party’ and this was awkwardly apparent at the start of their set. ‘Flashgun’s’ rather timid entrance triggered a feeling of tension amongst the crowd, as their nerves were certainly felt on arrival. That said; this was quickly opposed with their heavy sounding, nonetheless tuneful ‘No point hanging around’ in which their lively stage presence was quickly established.
The three-piece then went on to play new single ‘Passions of a different kind’ again maintaining their spirits and remaining unfazed by the overly settled crowd, which may have posed quite a challenge to other less determined bands. The single’s upbeat tempo was contrasted by the enticing middle eight section in which lead singer Sam Johnston’s exposed voice articulated freshness and clarity, despite the calm crowd’s lack of appreciation for such a warming sound.
After a slightly disappointing and sluggish performance of ‘The Beginning’, ‘Flashguns’ drive again picked up, along with the sudden wakening of the earlier sleepy crowd. The familiar sound of single ‘Come and see the lights’ was much appreciated by the new lively audience. The song’s recognisable racing guitar introduction went into a well-timed and together performance of the popular single, with a strong sense of vitality from all three members of the band, showing a sense of pride for their well written track. The ghostly backing of the keyboard with the strong, up-tempo drumming and the impressive vocals from Johnston proved successful in creating a new anthem for the young crowd, who related well with the misery pop lyrics about young love.
The intimate venue formed an appropriate setting for the performance of the meaningful lyrics of the next single ‘I don’t not love you’ which motivated the crowd to accompany the band with the repeated line ‘follow your heart….’ , not that their ever crescendoing sound was in need of it. After a rapid moving set, Flashguns’ closing effort, ‘Racing Race’ seemed a somewhat unusual choice, with its plodding bass and relaxed bluesy vocals. Though, like before the Brighton/London three-piece surprised the crowd with its build-up of frequently changing rhythms, proving it to be a technically challenging tune which undoubtedly deserved its place on the short setlist.
Flashguns’ melodic indie pop and well commanded stage presence is one that is without doubt worthy of seeing. Their ability to play of the responses of an encouraging crowd boost the young band even more, yet they do not allow themselves to be deterred when the crowd is less enthused. For this reason they deserve full credit. Their mature sound and charm prove that they are ever aware of both style and substance, an acclaim difficult to master and one done so perfectly, especially for such a young band.